Aulanko – The Beauty of Finnish Nature
Aulanko has charmed visitors for more than a hundred years and even inspired Finland’s national composer Jean Sibelius - it is easy to see why. This unique nature reserve area in Hämeenlinna has beautiful Finnish natural scenery, natural forests and many possibilities for outdoor activities. What would be better than taking a little nature escape near the city?
Aulanko Nature Reserve area has cultural and historical significance in Finland. Within the reserve area, there have been two ancient seashores dating back almost 10,000 years. Later there was also an ancient hillfort due to the strategically good location of the Aulangonvuori Hill. The history of the forest park starts at the end of the 19th century when Colonel Hugo Standerstsköld, one of Finland’s wealthiest man at the time, established an English-styled park in Aulanko. It became a popular travel destination at the beginning of the 20th century, and much of the park’s legacy from this period is still visible today.
A scenic platform and granite tower are located on top of the Aulangonvuori Hill and from here one of Finland’s national landscapes can be admired. The 33-meters-tall tower was built in 1906 and offers a perfect opportunity to admire the landscape over the valley of Lake Vanajavesi. (Open during summer seasons). A summer cafe Lookout Cafe Aulanko is located next to the tower.
Right by the scenic platform long stairs go down to a Bear Cave and the lakeshore. Once you have walked down the stairs, you will be greeted by Robert Stiggel’s sculpture (1905) of a bear family. Try to count all the stairs when you come back up!
Aulanko’s park and forest paths provide pleasant outdoor experiences around the year and for many purposes. Running, skiing, hiking, horse riding – the list goes on. Explore these forest paths or have a nice picnic in a wooden pavilion next to a Joutsenlampi (Swan pond).
Aulanko Nature Activity Center
Aulanko Nature Activity Center next to the Nature Reserve area, has a large parking area from where it is easy to start the forest trails along the lakeshore. The activity centre has a swimming dock that can be used all year round – even during winter you can go ice hole swimming here. During summer, located at the lakeshore next to the dock, are three Hämeenlinna rowing boats that are in public use and free of charge. The centre also provides children’s playground, toilets and a tipi-like hut where you can enjoy your packed lunch or grill sausages over a campfire.
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) is Finland’s most famous composer with a significant role in musical history. He was from Hämeenlinna and already in his youth he admired the nature of Aulanko. It is said that the scenery of Aulanko inspired him with his compositions that often captured the beauty of Finnish nature. In 2018, a hundred-hectare conservation area known as Sibeliuksen Metsä was established on the east side of Lake Aulangonjärvi. Sibeliuksen Metsä has well maintained forests paths.
On top of exploring the Nature Reserve Area, Aulanko offers many different outdoor activities to choose among. Aulanko Outdoors rents a variety of sports equipment for thrill-seekers. They have canoes, fat bikes, SUP boards, skis, snowshoes and more.
HugoPark Aulanko offers a treetop trek with high rope courses up in the trees of Aulanko. While connected to a safety cable, you can climb, balance and slide your way through nine different tracks. Located right next to HugoPark is also a summer café and minigolf.
Aulanko Golf has two golf courses; Finland’s oldest course 9-hole Hugo and the 18-hole Eversti course. The golf season is normally from early May to the end of mid-October.
We also have good news for those who love horses: it is possible to go horse riding in the beauty of Aulanko. Aulanko Riding School next to the hotel Scandic offers terrain riding, riding lessons and carriage or sleigh rides.
Hotel and spa – Scandic Aulanko
Hotel Scandic Aulanko provides a possibility to stay and enjoy Aulanko for longer. The hotel has a beautiful spa that people of all ages will love. Within the hotel services, there are glow-in-the-dark bowling hall, Aulanko Areena exercise world, bike rental and possibilities for tennis.
How to get here?
Aulanko is located 5 kilometres from the centre of Hämeenlinna so the easiest way to get there is by car or bus. Bus number 2U goes to Aulanko and stops by the main locations in the city, for example, the shopping mall Goodman, the bus station and the railway station. See timetables and routes
A walk from the centre is around 4 kilometres and will take around an hour.